In chapter 38 "Envisager" of The Way of Kings in The Stormlight Archive, Teft hands unconscious and dying Kaladin three Stormlight infused Spheres to test his theory that Kaladin might be a Surgebinder.

Once Kaladin absorbs the Stormlight from the spheres, Teft utters the words:

"Why now? Why here? And in the name of all heaven, why me?"

Sorry if this isn't verbatim.

I'm confused about why Teft says "Why me?" Is he just pissed that he discovered that Kaladin is a Surgebinder? Does he not want the responsibility of knowing this? Or is there something else to it?

  • 5
    Explaining this gives huge spoilers to Tefts back story, it all comes to "light" (pun intended) in subsequent books. Sep 8, 2021 at 19:32

2 Answers 2


Major spoilers for Teft!


Teft's family was in a cult dedicated to bring back the Knights Radiants... by bringing back the Voidbringers. His mother died during a cult ritual, and then Teft betrayed the cult to the local lord and watched his father be executed.

Coppermind's summary:

Teft was born in Talinar to a family of the sixth nahn. When he was a boy, a cult known as the Envisagers introduced the people of Talinar to the idea of returning the Knights Radiant by returning the Voidbringers. Envisagers also purposefully put their lives in danger, hoping that they would manifest Surgebinding powers. Teft's family joined the Envisagers, and they brought him with them to their initiation. His parents taught Teft about their beliefs, giving him basic information on using Stormlight and what the Radiants would be able to do with the power. Teft's mother later died in an attempt to bring out hidden Radiant powers. Teft reported the Envisagers to the citylord when he was eight years old, after which a trial was held for them; all of them were executed, including Teft's father, whom he watched being hanged

Therefore, it is very ironic that Teft is the one to befriend Kaladin and realize what he is. It brings back a lot of traumatic memories for him.

  • 1
    Well I just finished Words of Radiance and am now on to Oathbringer, so I won't be reading this answer for the time being... But it's enough of an answer to me to know that the answer includes major spoilers. So thank you!
    – Renge
    Sep 9, 2021 at 10:16

I think it's the responsibility. He now has an obligation to explain, and to guide, and to shepherd this new Radiant through things. He doesn't want all that weight on his shoulders

He also has a history of failing people and letting them down (or at least he believes he does) and he's the equivalent of a functional alcoholic (with the 'funcitonal' part not being 100% reliable). So he really doesn't feel like he's the right person for this

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